Saturday, March 24, 2007

"Rocket Science" Simply Amazing

On another adventure today, on the way to a new destination again but first, stopping at a familiar spot to clear US Customs and proceed southbound. This is short final runway 05 at Greensboro, North Carolina (KGSO). It is a quiet little airport for American standards but has a huge runway, a very friendly FBO (Landmark) and very punctual Customs Agents. It's nice now after doing this for awhile and clearing at the same spots over and over the custom's agent just looks at the paperwork and passport ask's how cold it is up in Canada and we carry on. There was the Customs agent in Battle Creek who made fun of the size of my head on my Passport photo ! I cleared a few counties over on another flight and he came walking out and I was like oh great....but I had just had a new picture taken for it. So I told him this as he took it from he and he said "What did you have to draw it in yourself to make it not look so big!" The nerve :) This guy was pretty funny though and he was the first Customs agent I have ever spent 30 minutes talking to after we were cleared. US Customs from my experience have been for the most part extremely proffesional and friendly. There is the odd guy who comes out in aviator 70's shades and isn't up for small talk but they are few and far between.

Southbound over the East coast of Florida en-route to Key Largo (Ocean Reef Club Airport). Here is a view of Launch Complex 39 (picture from the ground off Wikipedia) It encloses a total area of 130,000,000 square feet !!! No wonder they put that sucker in Florida, imagine the heating bill if it was up North !

15,000 feet of runway for the space shuttle to come back to earth on. KTTS in Titusville Florida also known as the Shuttle Landing Facility. Pretty huge runway but for a space ship without power and heavy breaking, this makes life a little easier coming home.

It's in the GPS database and according to it has civilian traffic. I am sure you have to arrange your visit ahead of time though.

Here is a view of a lot more of launch pads for various types of rockets. A detailed list of each site is found here. Also, here is a picture from just above the rocket launch pads.

Yet another launch pad.

Sitting in position waiting to go at Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo, Florida. As you can see there is golf carts just to the edge of the runway and no fences here. Because it is private and also in close proximity to golfers there is about 3 pages of rules you have to follow when you go here or you can get your permission to come here revoked. The ramp was full so we pulled in where it says on the rule sheet not to park. We were only gonna be about 5 minutes but this octogenarian came out screaming at us telling us to move because of a Citation Sovereign coming in. But the only other option for us to stay clear of the runway was to pull straight in to the parking area and not be able to turn around. Well nothing gets you moving like a jet on short final when you are 50 feet from the edge. We pulled straight into a parking area and shut down and the jet touchdown shortly after. It was 50 feet ish away but that is still too close when they are landing at 120 knots. So after he parked we released the brakes and pushed the airplane back towards the grass so we could start. Basically if I never come back here that would be too soon.

1 comment:

Bindar said...

Having just come back from a trip to Florida and the Kennedy Space Centre ... Center I highly recommend the tour at KSC. The Apollo/Saturn VI exhibit is truly awe inspiring. You can't fully appreciate the scope of what's been accomplished until you get up close and personal with a Saturn VI rocket. That thing's enormous! My hat is off to all the men and women who worked together to put man on the moon.